Siemens Helps Secure the Safety of Students and Staff at Rankin County School District

Published: May 2, 2008

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. – Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., Security Solutions Business Unit, recently partnered with Rankin County School District (RCSD), Brandon, Miss., to create new security solutions that effectively combined people, process and technology, making the district’s schools a more secure environment for staff and students.

“Assuring the safety of students and staff has always been paramount to school administration,” said Hugh Carr, assistant superintendent. “Traditionally schools were open campuses and had easy access.” While no serious threat has ever occurred in the district, there were times when doors were left ajar or access was gained to a building outside of normal school hours. “We needed to find a cost-effective way to provide tighter security on a daily basis and a way to lock-down the schools in case of an emergency.”

In the past, one key opened all of the doors to a school. With a staff of 2,900 there were persistent issues with lost and misplaced keys, causing each school to make new keys and replace the locks.

“In general, the school district needed to limit access,” said Scott Black, sales executive, Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. Specifically the ability to control access through select doors to select people would provide an extra layer of security that would benefit both students and staff.

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  • Siemens provided a turnkey access control system at 10 school campuses and the district headquarters. “The system is run from an enterprise-wide server located in the District’s IT center,” said Black. While it is possible to monitor every building from the IT center, the server is partitioned so that each system operator has access to only their assigned school.  Communication with the server is done via RCSD’s existing Ethernet.
  • Siemens recommended an access control application. “This software combines point monitoring and access control with integral ID badging, alarm alerts, time and attendance tracking, incident reports and more,” said Black.
  • An administrative office in each school now uses a PC workstation and a trained system operator to monitor all perimeter doors and grant or deny access as warranted.   
  • At six of the schools, the age and deterioration of many of the doors and door frames made replacement necessary. Siemens installed new hollow-steel, aluminum, wood and steel/glass doors and related hardware and replaced door frames where appropriate. “In an effort to keep costs down, the district supplied part of the materials and labor needed such as the sheetrock, masonry, painting and 120ac power,” said Carr.
  • MagLocks, Photoelectric infrared motion detectors and card readers were installed at every perimeter door.  Pushbutton devices, which are required by life-safety codes for egress, were also added.  As new schools are constructed, conduit for power and data cables will be installed at each door in preparation for adding access control capabilities at a later date.  Control panels, which create a database of authorized users, time and date stamping, incident recording and maintains access control, were installed at each campus.
  • Siemens worked with the RCSD officials to reduce costs where possible. An RCSD preferred vendor was used for master keying and installation of traditional door locks. The district’s own badge printer was incorporated into the system as well.

Each campus now has the ability to control access at every entry point and to lock-down in the event of an emergency. It is also possible to record which ID badges are used, which entrance is accessed and at what time of day.

Hundreds of keys are no longer circulating in the district and the cost and inconvenience of re-keying in the event of a lost or misplaced key was eliminated.

One door per building is assigned for after-hours use, limiting access and alleviating staff concerns about safety before and after school hours.

“Siemens did a great job of partnering with us to design an effective security solution,” said Carr.

Siemens April 22, 2008 press release

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